Pasta, Pesto, Tomatoes, Caramelization!

A mishmash of things from the fridge and the garden turned out to be a really wonderful dinner.

1-2oz. pancetta, diced small (optional if you’re vegetarian, required if you’re not!!)
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, chopped

Sautée these in a pan with olive oil until they are caramelized.

(Make the pesto while you’re waiting, recipe below. And put on a pot of water for the pasta!)

Add about 1/4 cup sweet vermouth to deglaze, and let this reduced down until syrupy.

1 cup diced summer squash (I used round zucchini)
2 minced garlic cloves

When squash is softened, add:
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

Immediately turn off heat!

This gives the sweet, richness of the caramelization but the freshness of summer tomatoes. If you turn off the heat it doesn’t break down the tomatoes but there’s enough heat left to warm them up with the dish.

Parsley-pecan pesto:

1 bunch parsley, stems removed
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 c lemon juice (I like lemony pesto!)
2 garlic cloves
salt and pepper

Run all this in the food processor and add olive oil (while the food processors still running) until it’s the texture of pesto! I probably use just shy of 1/4 cup of oil.

Toss the pesto into your cooked pasta (I used linguine) and top with spoonfuls of the tomato leek mixture.

This turned out even better than I expected it to. I served it with a Ridge Wines 2005 Syrah/Grenache and it went beautifully.